Fiction logo

Content warning

This story may contain sensitive material or discuss topics that some readers may find distressing. Reader discretion is advised. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Vocal.

A Withered Branch Like Me

5th May, Story #126/366

By L.C. SchäferPublished 17 days ago 3 min read
Created by AI

I get why they did it, even if I can't forgive. It's so unusual for it to be fake. A kid says something like that, you believe them, 100%.

I remember the day, the moment so clearly. I was stressed about uni. We were waiting on Dad's test results. But it was... OK. Normal.

I close my eyes and see it:

I'm hanging out in a friend's garage. Playing games, rolling joints. The guys trying to act cool around Lyla's wobbly shelf of pale cleavage. Sally thrashing everyone at Super Mario. There's a fug in the air: cigarette smoke, rock music, hormones.

I'm laughing at a joke. My phone rings. It's mum.

"Tom, is there anything you need to tell me?"

Fuck. What have I done?

"This is serious."

I get up and move outside. "Uhhh, mum, I don't... What's this about?"

"It'd be better if you admitted it. About Faye."

"What, my niece?" I'm getting irritated. "I haven't seen her for years."

"She says you... About six years ago. When you were fifteen and she was n-n-nine... She said you-"

[I can't repeat it. Can't pin the words down here. It'd make it... I can't.]

Why's Faye saying this?

"I didn't do it!"

I beg her to believe me, but she says, "Goodbye, Tom," and cuts the call.

They blocked me on everything. Mum, dad, my sister. Aunts, uncles cousins. Declined my calls.

Then, no more normal days. On tenterhooks, waiting for police to call. I drank. Worked dead-end jobs, fucked dead-end hook-ups.

Texts started arriving today. Faye accused someone else, someone who wasn't even in the country when she said it happened. People began questioning what she said about me, and she finally confessed.

Life's moved on for them these eleven years. The family tree grew. Babies born. People living, loving, dying... (Dad, cancer,) while this branch (me) withered. Drifted.

I want to say, "Stay away from me and my (fictional) wife and kids!" Break mum's heart to match mine.

But fuck I'm tired of being alone.


Word count: (excluding notes): 366

Submitted on: 5th May at 23:34

*Quick Author's Note*

First, and most importantly: thank you for reading!

A Year of Stories: I'm writing a story every day this year. This one makes an 126 day streak since the 1st January.

Please do consider lending your support to the other creators who are also on this madcap "story a day" adventure:

Rachel Deeming

Gerard DiLeo

Important note: false reports are rare, and if a child discloses abuse of any kind, they should be believed and supported completely.

The issue with this scenario is not that the characters believed the girl, which is obviously correct, but the rest of the way they handled it. What should they have done instead? If it had been dealt with differently, would the truth have come out sooner? While Faye's story might not have been wholly true, there might well have been truth in it. Generally, people don't say things like that for no reason. There's always a story behind the story.

Thank you

Thank you again! Especially if you are one of the wonderful people who has been staunchly reading these daily scribbles since the start of the year. I see you, and appreciate you 😁


familyShort StoryMicrofictionCONTENT WARNING

About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

Book-baby is available on Kindle Unlimited

Flexing the writing muscle

Never so naked as I am on a page. Subscribe for nudes.

Here be micros

Twitter, Insta Facey

Sometimes writes under S.E.Holz

"I've read books. Well. Chewed books."

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

Add your insights

Comments (9)

Sign in to comment
  • Cathy holmes13 days ago

    What a way to ruin someone's life. Excellent work, once again.

  • This line "Worked dead-end jobs, fucked dead-end hook-ups" encapsulated the tone of this piece so well. You really are an amazing writer! Great piece of short fiction. Absolutely brutal.

  • I mean, if there was some truth to it, then what was it? Because like you said, people don't say things like that for no reason. Hmmm

  • Oh finally unfortunately...

  • JBaz17 days ago

    Hard hitting and sad. Lies are easy to say but the complications can be devastating

  • Caroline Craven17 days ago

    Gosh. What a bloody mess. You write these complicated, ‘what if’ stories so well. Belter.

  • Mark Gagnon17 days ago

    It's mindblowing how one person's selfishness can ruin another's life. Thought-provoking story, L.C.

  • I've been on the other side of this and have been accused for things I have not done. My response was to question the investigation (if there was an investigation) that lead to the formal accusations. Or did the authorities (management team) blindly believe the accuser without investigating the situation. In my situation the latter is true. Because I know that the accusations are completely false. There was no investigation. I'm still waiting for my answer from the management team. Anyhow your story was intriguing and well written and one that I can relate to.

  • Hannah Moore17 days ago

    Ah, I've seen things like this play out. I'm not sure how I'd handle it, if it were my son. Not like this, I don't think.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.